Hello from Sydney!

Hello from Sydney!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Week One - In the MTC

The last 5 days have been absolutely crazy! But a good crazy!

I've seen so many people here from BYU! It's a big reunion, so it's been a lot of fun to see everyone walking around, all dressed up with a name tag. I also met Sister Robinson's niece who's going to HK and one of the elder's in my zone, Elder Peterson, is from Shanghai so he knows the Messicks and other people there. 

The missionaries in my zone and district are phenomenal! One of our zone leaders is Elder Okeson who I went to youth conference with 2 years ago...he's from Suzhou! Our zone is our branch and I love our branch presidency!! One of the counselors served in HK for a few months...well Macau. And one of the other counselors knows the Palmers... 
Our sister training leaders, Sister Howell and Sister Jackson are so great! They're so spiritual and loving and fun to be around. Sister Jackson is actually going to HK in a few weeks so look out for her!  Most of my district is going to Taipei, Taiwan except for me and Elder Vaughn.  He's from Tennessee, just graduated HS, and has never spoken Mandarin before. My district is made up of 4 sisters and 6 elders. We're the only 4 new sisters in our zone, and we all room together, so we're already so close. My companion is Sister Fisher.  She's super nice and sweet and we get along pretty well for the most part. It's weird having to be with someone literally 24/7....I'm not used to it. The other sisters are Sister Jenkins, who actually lived in David John Hall... and Sister Strong. They're so much fun to be with. The other sisters in our zone are also so great. I feel like we're all best friends already and it hasn't even been a week. There's a special feeling here that's so unique. 

The MTC is such an amazing place. The moment we started orientation with the welcome meeting, there was an incredibly strong spirit. I don't even know how to describe it. It's amazing to see that 85,000 young adults are out serving because we all have a love for this gospel. What teenager/young adult would spend 18 months - 2 years of their life disconnected from everything and everyone to share the gospel of Jesus Christ if it weren't true?? That in itself is a testament that this gospel is true. 

We study about 10-11 hours a day. We have Chinese class with our district where the teacher only talks to us in Chinese. Four of us have already studied a little, so we help translate for the rest of the class. It's been good for me to review as well as learn. My Chinese has improved so much and I know it's because of Heavenly Father's help and the Gift of Tongues. I'm so impressed with how fast the missionaries in my district are learning Chinese. There is no way we could be doing what we are doing without the Holy Ghost. We've taught 2 lessons in Chinese, which were pretty scary. But they went well! Although my gospel vocabulary wasn't big enough to answer a lot of our 'investigator's' questions, I could understand almost everything she was saying, which was a relief to me. It's crazy how much I speak Chinese here... I lived in HK for 18 years and i've spoken more Chinese here than I did there. It's been so good. I'm always embarrassed to say I'm from HK and don't know Cantonese or Mandarin... But everyone says my Chinese is pretty good (teachers, branch presidency, and the older missionaries), so it makes me feel better about my inadequacy to speak more Chinese. In sacrament meeting, they randomly select people to give short talks or testimonies in Chinese, so of course, I was picked, along with Elder Eyring (Pres. Eyring's grandson!!!). I was surprised that I was able to do it! I read it from a piece of paper...but I pronounced everything right without messing up. I can also pray in Mandarin which I thought was a huge accomplishment. 
My testimony has grown so much these past few days. I know that this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that Jesus is the Son of God and that he is our Savior and Redeemer. I know that our Heavenly Father loves us and knows each of us. I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God and translated the Book of Mormon in our day. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God. I know that Heavenly Father answers our prayers and that he is looking over all of us. 
Studying Mandarin

My District
Provo Temple
My friend Kitty who works in the MTC
My companion Sister Fisher

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